Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Jeju Naval Base Faces Strong Protest
What’s more important: the environment or national security?
That question is at the heart of the debate and protests happening at a scenic village on the southern island of Jeju, where the government is pushing ahead with the construction of a naval base.
On Wednesday, construction crews began to dynamite rocky areas to prepare for a caisson and other structures to begin construction of docks. The crews transported the explosive materials by ship, avoiding protesters who blocked roads on the island to the base area.
On news that the first blasting started Wednesday afternoon, left-of-center politicians hurriedly flew down to Jeju, ready to join the protest. Han Myeong-sook, chairwoman of the opposition Democratic United Party, also went to the protest.
The discussion of building a naval base on Jeju first surfaced in the early 1990s as the country’s export-dependent economy was heavily using the sea lanes for shipping. But plans didn’t move forward until President Roh Moo-hyun took office in 2003. He finalized the location in 2007. Construction started last year, but protesters continue efforts to prevent the base from being built. When complete, it is to be the home of about 20 warships and submarines and several thousand sailors.
The tension is mostly centered around gureombi, the 1.2km-long, 150m-wide volcanic rock that was formed by hot lava flowing down the sea. Protesters argue that Jeju’s unique nature should take priority.
As often with many sensitive issues in the country, the Jeju base has turned into a political battle.
In a press conference last month, President Lee Myung-bak also stressed the importance of a military outpost on Jeju. “Approximately 400,000 ships use sea lanes there every year, and more ships will do so if our economy and exports grow further in the future,” he said.
Ridiculous protestors whining and creating a scene yet again… this seems to be their favorite pastime. It's funny that they don’t like protesting issues that relate to criticizing the North Korean government. Also the protestors don’t even realize that this naval base was in plans for construction while President Roh (their ‘dear leader’) was in office. The irony is so stark it is amusing.
Also, the only real reason those Jeju island dwellers are protesting is because they want a larger settlement from the government. Yes, the rock is cute, but the left wing press in Korea have blown this out of proportion by stating false claims such as “The rock is a UNESCO designated natural environment.”
I guess reading the dumb tweets from the jongbookjwapa (leftist) people will amuse me enough for the day…
Source: Jeju Naval Base Faces Strong Protest
Labels: Korean News